In the last blog I talked about the key aspects of the tricky second meeting, and I talked about the things you need to be doing to prepare your prospect for the next crucial moment – moving them from where they are now towards becoming a customer. What I call bridging.
I call this process bridging because that’s exactly what you need to do. You need to show your prospect that you have opened up a safe way for them to travel from “prospect land” to “customer land”, that you have bridged that divide making it easier for them to cross over the “chasm of doubt”.
Here’s a video I published to my YouTube channel recently all about bridging, right next to a real bridge that’s close to my heart!:
It’s vital that you don’t try this too soon – it will become a bridge too far! Remember, we’ve spoken before about making sure that you really get to know your prospect and their goals, problems, needs and wants. Unless you’ve gone through all the steps we mentioned last time, you shouldn’t try to bridge.
Here’s a checklist to help you decide if your prospect is ready:
✓ Have you spent a significant amount of time talking about their situation and do you really know what’s important to them?
✓ Have you really explored their key challenges and wants, and are these a good fit for the solutions you offer?
✓ Have they explicitly told you they are keen to move forward NOW from where they are currently?
✓ Can you definitely show that you can solve this problem for them by providing good evidence?
If the answer to all these is “yes” then the time is right.
Bridging your prospect is all about showing them what great things lie on the other side. Your goal at this point of the sales process should be to show them why they should want to cross over and become a customer.
How do we do that?
We need to get them to visualise what it will be like on the other side, to get them thinking about what their future will look like if they cross over.
The most powerful tool at your disposal to get your prospect thinking in the right way is to show them how other people in similar situations have benefited from crossing over before them. In other words, by sharing real stories of real successes that other people like them have achieved as one of your customers.
You could try asking:
“John, it’s great to hear about your plans. Would be helpful for me to show you how we have helped businesses in a similar position to achieve their goals?”
“It sounds like these issues are causing you some headaches, John. Can I share with you the example of Sarah who was in a very similar position a few months ago but has since been able to solve them?”
The bottom line? Make sure you can evidence with testimonials, reviews, or case-studies that your solutions work.
The final part of the bridging process is to make sure you walk across with them. This should be a journey you take them on – a guided tour – not a self-drive tour!
What do I mean by that? Well, too many salespeople are great at building up the picture of the “promised land” across the bridge, but then just leave the prospect to navigate their own way across. There’s an arrogance here to thinking you’ve done such a great job that it’s obvious that they should just buy.
No. You need to make sure you guide your prospect all the way over to the other side by checking with them that the proposal you’re building fits perfectly and that they can see how it will solve their problems and help them achieve their goals. Showing them you’ve tailored your solutions to them, and checking that what you’re suggested works for them is the key to bringing them all the way over.
So here’s a top tip, and it’s something I’m sure you’ve heard before – “under-promise and over-deliver”.
Don’t just make sure that your solution is everything you said it would be – if you can, make sure it’s even more. Whether that’s delivering the solution in 5 weeks instead of the 6 they wanted or making them 75% more efficient when they expected 70%, or whatever it may be.
So there you go. I hope that’s been a useful second part to our mini-series on the second meeting with a new prospect.
I’ve given a blueprint for how the meeting should go, and we talked about:
If you’ve made all the right steps then you should be in a position of having a prospect who is now ready to become a customer, it’s time to close.
If there’s any aspect of this that you think I could help you and your business to improve, then why not reach out and let’s see if there are ways I can help you. You can drop me a line to [email protected], or get in touch via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube – just search for “jameswhitesales”.